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The History of Essential Oils

According to the translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and physicians were using extracted oils from plants for thousands of years before Christ. These essential oils are the earliest known medicines, predating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by some 6,000 years or more. In ancient times, aromatherapy worked with oil extracts and incense and resins. These methods are still used today with the added benefits of modern technology. We are now able to identify specific species as well as their purity with scientific accuracy.

Highly revered, the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt routinely exchanged blue Lotus Oil with the kings of India for slaves, gold and other precious goods. And so it is, essential oils were at one time in history considered more valuable than gold.

When King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1922, 350 liters of oil were discovered in alabaster jars. Plant waxes had solidified in a thickened residue around the inside of the container opening, leaving the liquefied oil in excellent condition.

In 1817 the Ebers Papyrus was discovered, which was over 870 feet long and was referred to as a medicinal scroll. It dated back to 1500 B.C and mentioned over 800 formulations of herbal prescriptions and remedies. Other scrolls indicated that the Egyptians had a very high success rate in treating 81 different diseases. Many mixtures contain Myrrh and honey. Myrrh is recognized today for its agility to help with infections of the skin and throat and to regenerate skin tissue. Myrrh was also used for embalming because of its effectiveness in preventing bacterial growth.

The Egyptians were the first to discover the potential of fragrance. They created various fragrances used for the individuals personal benefit as well as in rituals and ceremonies performed in the temples and pyramids. According to records dating back to 4500 B.C, they were also using balsamic substances with aromatic properties in religious rituals and for medicines.

The Egyptian high priests understood the value of fragrances for opening the subconscious mind and elevating their ability to communicate with their spirit world.

The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians believed tat in order to reach a realm of higher spirituality; they had to be clean and beautiful. They practiced fumigation as a means of disbursing oils to purify the air around them, which they believed would protect them from evil spirits. The Egyptians were a vain people consumed with their looks and beauty. They discovered oils and the aromatic uses of oils for medicinal purposes long before the actual plant was studied and used in its herbal application and incorporated into the field of medicine.

The Romans also played an important role in the history of essential oils. They were very much into fumigating and diffusing oils in their temples and political buildings as well as bathing in hot tubs scented with oils followed by a fragrant massage with their favorite oils.

Anciently, the Arabian people began to study the chemistry of aromatic properties that resulted in a refined development of distillation. This was first implemented in the extraction of rose oil and rose water, which were very popular in the Middle East at that time. Various expeditions brought aromatic plants from one country to another. Kings would barter and buy land, gold, slaves and women with the oils that they had extracted even with their crude methods. Thus, oils were more valuable than gold.

Throughout the Torah and up to the time of Christ, there are numerous references to the value of oils. Perhaps during the Dark Ages and the burning of the libraries in Alexandria and other places, much of this knowledge was lost; and only through the cosmetic and perfume industry did the valuable science start to resurface.


There are over  180 references to these oils  (or the plant they are derived from) in the Bible. Some precious oils, such as frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, rosemary, hyssop, cassia, cinnamon and spikenard were used for anointing and healing the sick. There were three wise men (magi) who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child. Clinical research now shows that frankincense and myrrh are two of the most powerful immune-stimulating substances available, containing very high amounts of immune-stimulating properties. Perhaps the three wise men were wise in ways beyond our knowledge. Recent excavation of the ancient city of Gilead has unearthed the remains of a fortress like building used for the manufacture of balsam oil. This balm of Gilead€¯ noted in Jeremiah 8:22, had long been famous in antiquity for its nearly miraculous properties to HEAL WOUNDS. In fact, the balsam oil of Gilead was so famous that the conquering Roman emperor Titus (79 ā€“ 81 AD) after conquering Gilead, displayed branches from Gilead’s balsam trees in his triumphal march through Rome.

So precious was this oil to the commerce of Gilead, the extract manufacturing process was kept a closely guarded secret. So much so, archeologists uncovered an inscription carved into the floor of a local synagogue that reads, Whoever reveals the secret of the village to the gentiles, the one whose eyes roam over the entire earth and sees what is concealed will uproot this person and his seed from under the sun. (see Biblical Archeology Review, Sept/Oct 1996 issue)

It should be noted when Joseph’s brothers tried to sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelites passing by, their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, purchased in Gilead, on their way to Egypt. (Gen. 37:25)


Essential oils were not produced in Europe until the 12th century. Although medieval Europeans lost touch with personal cleanliness, which helped bring on the great plagues of the 13th and 14th centuries, essential oils were still known and talked about in relationship to the thieves who robbed the bodies of the dead and were not infected. These robbers, known as spice traders and perfumers, bathed in such oils as pine frankincense, balsam, clove, cinnamon, and rosemary. Imagine the knowledge and trust they must have had in the oils that they were willing to expose themselves to an otherwise certain death.

Throughout early history, the ancients knew the value of essential oils. What happened to the information about these oils? Perhaps during the Dark Ages and the burning of the libraries in Alexandria and other places, much of the knowledge was lost. It has only been through the cosmetic and perfume industry that this valuable science has started to resurface


In 1920, a French cosmetic chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, Ph.D..., while working in his laboratory, had an accident that resulted in a third degree thermal burn of his hand and forearm. He plunged his arm into a vat of lavender oil, thinking that it was water. To his surprise, the burning slowly decreased and then stopped within a few minutes. Over a period of time, with the continual application of lavender oil, the burn healed completely without a trace of a scar.

As a chemist, Dr. Gattefosse analyzed the essential oil of lavender and discovered that it contained many substances referred to as chemical constituents. As a result of this, he determined that essential oils contained tremendous healing properties.

He shared his experience with his colleague and friend, Dr. Jean Valnet, a medical doctor in Paris, France. During World War II, while serving as a medical physician in the French Army at the China Wall, treating war victims, Dr. Valnet ran out of antibiotics, so he decided to try using essential oils. To his amazement, they had a powerful effect in reducing and even stopping the infection, and he was able to save many of the soldiers who otherwise might have died even with antibiotics.

Dr. Valnet had two students who did their internship with him who were responsible for expanding his work, Dr. Paul Belaiche and Dr. Jean Claude Lapraz. They discovered that essential oils contain anti viral, antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiseptic properties as well as being powerful oxygenators with the ability to act as carrying agents in the delivery of nutrients INTO the cells body.


One of the causes of disease in both plants and the human body is the inability of nutrients to penetrate the cell wall. Unless there is as adequate delivery agent to assist the cell to receive needed nutrients, the cell becomes deprived of nutrition; its wall thickens, preventing delivery of nutrients. This causes cell deterioration, leading to cell mutation, creating a host for bacteria and disease. If your food supplement program has seemingly hit a wall of limitation’s, it may be for the above reason

One of the many incredible aspects of the oils in their amazing ability to penetrate and carry nutrients through the cell wall to the cell nucleus. They literally fly through the thickest cell walls. This is due to the oxygenating molecules found in the oils which transport nutrients, then deliver them through the cell for feeding the nucleus. The oils are nature’s most effective catalyst and delivery agent for feeding cells.


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